The United States invented mass marketing and news media manipulation. The US has become very adept at controlling the worldwide narrative about each country and the United States’ place in it. Many US citizens have a worldview based on a distorted record created by a news media that pushes forth the ideal of American exceptionalism that ignores the true realities that other countries see around them. One of the greatest misconceptions about US citizens that I had to overcome is that it is not arrogance that US citizens display to the rest of the world, but rather a distorted world view.
Last week, I shared with you a geography lesson about why using “American” to refer to US citizens is improper. Most US citizens I have spoken to had no idea that “America” was a continent rather than the US. It is not their fault as they are a product of a distorted world view created by the leadership of the United States in order to be the world’s leader, or to create the illusion of American exceptionalism.
The run up to the Olympics this year focused on whether Brazil was ready and whether it was going to be a “safe” country to hold the Olympics in. The larger message being that a developing country, like Brazil, was ill-equipped to hold a world event like the Olympics. Along with that theme was the theme perpetuated by many of the athletes, from some of the richer countries, that Brazil was a third-world nation where toilets wouldn’t work and that crime would put them at risk.
The notion that a country, like Brazil, was so crime infested that the Olympic athletes would surely be the victims of crime was the news lead running up through the start of the Olympics. As you know by now, four US Olympic swimmers; Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte alleged that they were held at gun point and robbed of their belongings.
This was a lie playing up the notion that Latin American countries are crime infested and unworthy of US citizens.
Of course this made national and worldwide news. Until their story, the biggest scandal about the Brazil Olympics was the green water. Immediately, the robbery of four US swimmers became the example of the failures of developing countries like Brazil.
Except that it was all a lie gobbled up by the masses that assumed US athletes like Ryan Lochte are above reproach and wound never vandalize another person’s property.
The story by the four changed and the evidence pointed to a lie being told.
However, Ryan Lochte made a run for the border and left Brazil ahead of Brazilian authorities who wanted to ensure that the perpetrators of the robbery were held to account. As more evidence emerged, it became imperative that Brazil set the record straight and show that the robbery story is just another “American exceptionalism” gone awry.
Initially, and if the Brazilian authorities had not followed up on the story, it would have been just another Latin American country taking advantage of good ‘ole USA boys, the creme of the crop; or US exceptionalism.
The news media was too eager to showcase why Brazil, and other developing countries, are not ready for the world stage with the alleged robbery.
If this had happened in the United States, and it was four Mexicans who had alleged that they were robbed at gun point, the immediate questions from the US news media would have been, but why did the lead Mexican swimmer leave the country before reporting the details to the authorities. For that matter, the first question that would have been asked about the affair is why did the swimmers not report the crime to the proper authorities.
However, since this happened in Brazil, and the swimmers were US swimmers, the immediate assumption that was made was that the swimmers were robbed.
Even after conclusive evidence exposed the lie, Ryan Lochte tries to excuse his behavior as being drunk. Presented with clear evidence, Lochte refuses to accept responsibility and instead continues to argue that he was “extorted” out of money at gun point.
If US citizens truly believe that justice is blind and it should be allowed to work through its process, then they would gather up Ryan Lochte and help him board a flight to Brazil so that he can answer for his crimes.
But no, the general conversation is why does a US swimmer have to answer to foreign authorities?
I am glad that the Brazilian government has taken this seriously and is working to prove the obvious lie by the four US swimmers who believe that “American exceptionalism” means disrespecting the citizens of other countries, especially countries where the US attitude of superiority blinds people to believe that they are above common decency.
The only appropriate way to resolve this is for the US government to escort Ryan Lochte back to Brazil so that he can answer for his disrespect to Brazil, and its people.
I won’t hold my breath.